We are thrilled to have not one, but two members of the Month for November. Donna Carmichael and Camilla Chlebna have been our Student and Early Career representatives on the RSA Board since 2017 and as their terms come to an end we would like to take the opportunity to celebrate them and share their work across the community.
I am a second-year PhD Student at the London School of Economics and Political Science in London, UK, and my research examines wealth accumulation processes in conditions of financialized capitalism in the UK. I completed my MBA in Toronto, followed by many years of work experience in a variety of global corporations, and have returned to university to pursue PhD research. I am finding that my extensive work experience is profoundly influencing and informing my research. My involvement with the RSA as the Student Representative on the Board over the last few years was incredibly rewarding and provided me with valuable insights into the governance, strategy and operations of not-for-profit scholarly associations, and I will always be grateful for the support of an extremely congenial and thoughtful group of Board members and RSA staff. I am particularly appreciative of the friendships I’ve developed as a result of my RSA involvement, especially working with Camilla (ECR Rep) to develop initiatives to support our student/ECR colleagues.
Donna’s words of wisdom
One piece of advice I would convey to PhD students is to Get Involved! There are many opportunities for students to engage with a wide variety of academic associations such as the RSA, and I’d encourage PhD students to get involved through Board positions, presenting papers at conferences, volunteering at events, writing blogs about conference experiences, and more. The opportunity to obtain feedback on your research and to network with other students as well as senior scholars can be immensely helpful to junior scholars.
Camilla Chlebna is a postdoctoral researcher in the working group for Organisation & Innovation at the Institute for Social Sciences at the University of Oldenburg in Germany. She participates in the REENEA project on regional energy transitions which uncovers the social dynamics of energy transitions in six German regions, concentrating on the dynamics around wind energy deployment. Camilla is an evolutionary economic geographer, currently focused on sustainability transitions and the role of different kinds of actors and agency.
Before working at Oldenburg University Camilla held a post as postdoctoral researcher in the working group for Economic Geography at the Department for Geography and Regional Research at the University of Vienna. She did her PhD at Oxford Brookes University in the UK on ‘The role of institutions for the path dependent development of the wind energy industry in Britain and Germany’. Camilla holds a Master’s degree in Spatial Planning from Oxford Brookes University, UK, and a Bachelor’s degree in Regional Development and Planning from University of Technology, Vienna, Austria.
Camilla’s words of wisdom
Over the years I have found that the key attribute of a researcher must be ‘curiosity’. Whether it be wanting to know how things work in the natural sciences or wanting to understand why people do certain things in social sciences, it is what keeps us going. Meeting interesting people in interesting places is definitely the most enjoyable part of my job. The RSA has given me the opportunity to meet even more interesting people in even more interesting places. It is great that someone else will now get this opportunity. I look forward to meeting them and will be happy to stand by for advice should they ever need it.